According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce in America grew 14.2% in 2021. Forbes recently reported that by the end of 2022, e-commerce will have doubled its market share at 20.4% of all global commerce (up from 10% five years ago). Given this incredible and enduring spike in e-commerce, along with the continuing popularity of mobile devices, we have now entered what is often dubbed the “post-PC world.” Almost everyone is shopping on their mobile devices, so much so, that consumer behavior and shopping patterns are changing.
Jewelry retailers who want to keep up with changing lifestyles and technologies must adapt their strategies to compete in the mobile world. It used to be sufficient to have a beautiful, functional website, even without e-commerce options. Mobile apps were a complete afterthought. Today, however, it is important to recognize that mobile devices are the primary tools for reaching both new and existing customers, and in many cases, the only way that customers will reach out to the store. Even B2B businesses are finding that strategies for mobile marketing and selling are critical for success. Why? Because employees often reach for mobile devices to search for products and/or communicate with customers or vendors using the device they feel most comfortable with – their phone.
Engage Customers Before They Shop
The ease and efficiency that mobile shopping offers has made today’s consumers much more selective. Customers do not have to physically shop around to find the best prices or to compare products. They can and will do their research online to know exactly what they want, and they only go into stores that can offer it.
As a result, retail is getting a massive technology face-lift. Many brick-and-mortar stores are utilizing custom apps to not only keep their brand front and center, but to help their clientele find the products they are looking for before they even set foot inside the store. These apps utilize modern technology, such as the interactive visual search options that Virtual Diamond Boutique (VDB) offers or augmented reality tools for virtual try-on, to fully engage the customer online and/or to make their in-person shopping easier and their overall experience more fun than ever. The customer feels in control and comfortable when they show up in the store to buy.
For example, many retailers use VDB’s ecommerce integrations to allow customers shopping on their websites to stay engaged by searching a larger selection of virtual inventory than that carried in the store. It keeps browsers from bouncing too quickly from the website, offering beautiful product images, as well as 360-degree videos. State-of-the-art technology puts the retailer in control, allowing them to only feature inventory from their preferred suppliers, as well as offering customers filtering options by grading labs, quality measures, budget or whatever makes the retailer or customer most comfortable. When customers come into the store, many sales associates use a customized VDB selling tool to qualify and engage the customer, making their shopping experience highly personalized, a perfect blend of both physical and guided digital.
More importantly, having a mobile presence like a custom app or a customized selling tool allows sales associates to never miss a sale. If a conversation comes up at dinner about engagement rings or anniversary gifts, a sales associate can easily pull out their phone and engage the customer on the spot, showing merchandise options to the customer immediately. All VDB solutions were designed by jewelry industry veterans and offer unique tools that are geared specifically for jewelers. For example, the mark-up modes allow a retailer to show their preferred selling prices for all the mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, color gemstones and jewelry in the marketplace.
Virtual Inventory Creates a Unique In-Store Experience
All jewelry store owners know that having enough inventory is key to running a profitable business. It is one of the single biggest pain points for most business owners. Shipping, receiving, storage – it can all be a nightmare to think about. With options like VDB’s tools and solutions, retailers have the best of both worlds. They can sell their products online and/or digitally in-store, while physically having less inventory risk.
With access to over one million mined diamonds, and over 280,000 lab-grown diamonds at one’s fingertips, no one ever needs to miss a sale because they do not have sufficient inventory. While searching for just the right stone, tools and solutions like those from VDB offer options to create collections of customer favorites and then share the items via email, including pictures, videos, and lab certificates. The customer can then share those images or videos on social media or via email with their family or loved ones. The whole process is instantly available in the palm of the hand. There is no need for the customer to look anywhere else or to waste their valuable time.
Technology Never Stops Innovating
Technology continues to move quickly, and the jewelry industry can too. Innovation must be at the core of a jewelry retailer’s strategy for success. While looking to the future for the next big idea, be sure to also turn to the past for inspiration. Partner with technology companies from within the industry. At VDB, a long history in the diamond business, coupled with a passion for the future of sales and retail, create a uniquely competitive edge and the perfect platform from which to develop inspiring new benefits. In a post-PC world, consumers expect more. With the right partner and the right tools, it is easy to give them what they want!